31 January 2012

Collecting Colour : January is Yellow

The holiday slideshow will continue shortly, but I had to sneak this post in as there's only a bit over 6 hours left of January... So, without further ado, introducing Collecting Colour!  Each month I'm going to pick a colour, curate a collection of things lying about the house and photograph it.  Hurrah!  

Are you excited?  I am!  And if you are excited you're welcome to join in too - you can follow along with my monthly colour picks, or you can pick your own, either way is ACE!  And I promise for the next eleven months I'll do the post a bit earlier (the idea only came to me at four yesterday morning - thank you jet lag!). 

If you join in please let me know - tweet me (@ejorpin) or leave a link in a comment below.  Oh, and do grab the button over on the side bar if you like!

January is yellow because yellow is bright and sunny and happy, and I am a little bit (okay, a lot) over the cold, dry Seoul winter.  What can you spy in January's collection?

UPDATE! I've added a link up tool, so if you do participate (on Flickr or your blog or Instagram or anywhere really!) add your link for January below.  Hurrah!

30 January 2012

Holiday Slideshow : Mammoth to Death Valley

I'm back in Seoul and loving sorting out our US holiday photos - it was a seriously great trip, with lots and lots of good things packed in.  So, let the holiday slide show begin!

After our ice skating skiing in Mammoth we picked up our hire car (a giant leather-lined boat of a thing that the hire car guy called a 'pimp-mobile'!) and had a most amazing drive through to Death Valley (during which we were listening to our US road trip playlist, of course!).  

For most of the drive we had the misty Sierra Nevada on one side, and the arid White/Inyo Mountains on the other, with unbelievably vast lengths of straight road stretching out in front of us.  It was some of the most spectacular, wondrous scenery that I've ever had the pleasure of seeing - other worldly and oh so majestic.

20 January 2012

Death by Doxie : Elfi's the Queen of Our Castle*

As a little xmas present to ourselves I finally bought some of the Castle pillow cases that I've been lusting after ever since my sister first put them on one of her wish lists some years ago.  Of course, now that I have my hands on some, I just want more.  The quality and design is just too good. Anyway, here's Elfi giving our new pillow cases a test run.

*bad pun intended.  Sorry.

19 January 2012

Hello!  How are you?  We are all jet lagged but well and happy and full to the brim with mac 'n' cheese and Reese's peanut butter cups.  At the moment we are in the stunningly beautiful Mammoth Lakes, California.  It's been lovely - blue skies, gorgeous views, the scent of pine in the air. 

I've realised that it's a bit tricky to ski with a DSLR hanging off your shoulder, so I'm afraid all I've got are a handful of iPhone Instagram-ed pics that in no way do justice to the sweeping majesty of it all. Especially as most of them are snapped in a haphazard, super fast manner so I can get my ski gloves back on before losing a finger to frost bite...

I've also realised there's an upside to jet lag.  Because it means all the non sleeping people get to sit up in the wee hours, and talk and laugh and watch TV - namely Animal Planet (I can highly recommend Gator Boys for late night viewing) and ridiculous tele-marketing ads (I think all of us now secretly want a RoboStir).

Anyway, Mammoth is amazing.  Fantastic food, fabulous facilities, friendly folk (too many effs, maybe?). This winter has been a bit mild, so there's not a great deal of snow.  We've spent a lot of time skating over rock hard ice instead of skiing (and panicking about snapping a leg in half due to the hard and fast snow conditions, though I have a feeling I'm the only one panicking...).  They're predicting one of the first big snow storms of the season to hit in the next day or so - just in time for our drive to Death Valley!  Oh weather, you fickle thing you!

14 January 2012

US road trip playlist : Suggestions wanted!

Our 2012 travel is about to begin, and it's beginning with a bang!  On Sunday we are flying out to San Francisco (and somehow landing before we take off, which never ceases to amuse me), meeting up with the step-sons and then embarking on a bit of a US adventure!  There'll be skiing in Mammoth, followed by a drive through Death Valley.  Then it's on to the bright lights of Vegas, an aerial view of the Grand Canyon, and finishing off with a few days in the lovely San Francisco.  

I can not possibly explain how excited I am about this trip!  Not only are we re-visitng two of my favourite cities, but I'm also going to see some iconic parts of the US that I've never seen before.  And more than that it's the boys first trip to the US - it's going to be so much fun to show them around!

They don't watch a lot of American TV (although the oldest' new favourite thing to watch is The Daily Show, that boy has damn fine taste!) but they have soaked up their fair share of American cultural references (see the celebration of junk food in Over the Hedge, the New Yorkers in Madagascar, and pretty much everything in the Toy Story trilogy).  So, as well as all the big fun stuff we have planned, I'm ridiculously excited about all the little fun things - like visiting a supermarket to gawk at the cereal aisle. Oh, and the food!  Tex mex, steak houses, buffalo wings and sliders served bar-side, a tower of hotcakes for breakfast and Reese's peanut butter cups!  Oh my!

We have a car for a few days, where we'll be driving from Mammoth to Las Vegas, and I'm putting together a road trip playlist.  I want all American artists, and I'm going for a kind of folksy country dreamy driving feel.  Here's what I've got so far:

Then there'll be some Neil Young, Simon and Garfunkle, maybe some Bruce Springsteen?  I'd really like to have Beth Orton on there, but she's Bristish...

So, over to you - if you've got any suggestions sing them out please!

12 January 2012

The World's Biggest Paper Chain*

So I was taking the xmas decorations down the other day, and I got completely distracted by the super giant, enormously long, paper chain that the step-sons have been working on for two whole years (okay, so actually it was a few days in 2010 and a few days in 2011, but why let facts get in the way of a good exaggeration).  As I pulled it down I ended up spending nearly an hour taking photos of it from every angle, while the rest of the decorations resolutely continued to deck the halls.

The paper chain is about 15 meters long at the moment, and next year it will get added to again.  I hope it doesn't fall apart for a few more years - I'm hoping that one day it'll get so long that we can string it through the entire house and then back on itself again!

*this claim is not officially verified by any kind of paper chain measuring association

11 January 2012

Kickstarter is Ace

I know I've mentioned Kickstarter before but here's the thing - it really is ace!  Because I've realised that not only do you get to back and spruik projects you love (thereby playing a role in making them actually happen), and not only do you get that warm and fuzzy glow that comes from doing whatever you're able to do to help someone else and make them happy, but you also get things!  Real, actual, super special things!

A few months ago I backed a bunch of projects, felt happy about their success and then kind of forgot about them.  But then a bunch of things arrived in my mail box - awesome things no less!  

Up top is a set of gorgeous recipe cards from the Oma and Bella project.  I backed Oma and Bella because I am a sucker for documentaries, and I love the story of hardship and friendship and recipes and really loud floral clothing that it hopes to tell.

Then down below is a bunch of awesome from Regretsy's Big Book of Fabricated Folktales from Finland project.  Yep, I helped fund April's visit to Finland.  And why not?  

Regretsy has given me so much joy over the years - as much as I adore Etsy it does all get a bit 'put a bird on it' at times, and Regretsy is the perfect antidote to that.  And contrary to popular opinion Regretsy has a big, happy heart at it's center (like all the best things do).  Also, after finally reading the Regretsy book, I think April may be one of the smartest young women on the planet.  There's something very honest and true behind all the shenanigans.  Plus, I got a woven badge with a Finnish swear word on it, hurrah!

07 January 2012

Why I Love My New 50mm Fixed Lens

A few months ago I read this post on Brandi's blog about the new lens she'd received for her birthday.  It was a 50mm f/1.8 fixed lens, and it seemed to produce a rather lovely shallow depth of field.  I'm a sucker for shallow depth of field photos - where one point is picked out in crystal clear focus and everything else fades into a delightful blur - so the lens duly went on my Xmas wish list, and my awesome Mum duly went out and got it for me.  And I am so very happy that she did.

The low aperture is responsible for the super depth of field, but it also means that the lens sucks in all the available light it can.  This means even in low light conditions you can have a fast shutter speed, which makes it great for candid portrait shots as you don't have to get your subject to pose.  The blurry background also leads to happy bokeh accidents, as I'm just starting to discover.

If you want to read more about why the 50mm fixed lens is ace (and how it will make you a better photographer) this article is a good place to start.

06 January 2012

Death by Doxie : Ferdi's new toys

We didn't forget our doxies on Xmas day.  We got a bunch of new toys for them, including some Snoopy rattles and a cute plush version of Toy Story's Slinky Dog (all bought in Tokyo - Japan has the best stuff for your pets!).  

Normally it takes the dogs a little while to warm up to new toys, but Slinky was immediately Ferdi's favourite.  They've been near inseparable since Xmas day.

02 January 2012

A new year, a new discount!

Writing the looking back, moving forward post really did prompt me to have a good hard think about what I do want to achieve in 2012 (all you 'write your goals down' type people are on to something I think!).  As a result I've decided to put my Etsy shop into a kind of cryosleep for a month or three (or maybe more) so I can focus on other stuff.

But before I do that, for one week only I'm putting everything in my shop on SALE!  Hurrah! That's 30% off EVERYTHING in my Etsy shop for the next 7 days!  If you've ever had your eye on something, this is your chance to snap it up!

01 January 2012

Here's to a fabulously friendly and fantastically fun 2012!  

Thanks for taking the time to stop by, have a read, leave a comment - it makes me happier than you could imagine!